ADNOC promotes Emirati date culture and heritage at Liwa Date Festival

ADNOC promotes Emirati date culture and heritage at Liwa Date Festival
A selection of fresh dates is assessed.
Published: 23 July 2018 - 1:47 a.m.
By: Jonathan Sheikh-Miller

Building on its role as a pillar of the Emirati community, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is showcasing its sustainable cultivation of dates at the Liwa Date Festival, held July 18th – 28th, 2018.

ADNOC is the main sponsor of the festival, which promotes the exchange of technical expertise between farmers in the cultivation of dates. The festival also aims to celebrate and promote the cultivation of the best and finest varieties of dates.

Highlighting the company’s efforts in promoting date cultivation and Emirati heritage, ADNOC is showcasing its own crop of dates, grown on Zirku Island, about 140 kilometres from Abu Dhabi’s metropolitan area. The company has been cultivating dates on the island since 2002.

From the initial 870 date palms, ADNOC now cultivates 1,500 date palms on its Zirku Island farms. Farm yields are impressive; last year the Zirku Island farms produced approximately 14,500 kilogrammes of dates, a 14% increase from 2016’s harvest.

ADNOC has achieved this growth with sustainable farming practices. For example, the soil surrounding the date palms is covered to minimise water loss due to evaporation.

The farms on Zirku Island produce more than 25 varieties of dates, including the Anbara date, which averages more than five centimetres in length. The variety is prized for its size. Anbara dates cultivated by ADNOC have won the Liwa Date Festival award for Biggest Date for four consecutive years since 2012.

During the festival, ADNOC is hosting an exhibition of rare photos of the UAE’s Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, from its archives. The photos document the efforts of Sheikh Zayed towards the sustainable development of date agriculture in the Al Dhafra region.

ADNOC is also holding daily workshops to share the latest farming techniques and fertiliser products with local farmers so that they will be able to increase the quality and yield of their crops. At the same time, dedicated workshops for youth are being held daily to raise awareness about preserving the environment while expanding date cultivation.

In addition, workshop participants will learn about the programmes ADNOC is driving to promote STEM education and youth development in Abu Dhabi and the Al Dhafra region. This includes the ADNOC-LEGO Innovation Studios in ADNOC schools, where 6,000 students from elementary to high school are expected to benefit from the curriculum taught through the studios.

Reem Al Buainain, manager, corporate social responsibility (CSR) at ADNOC, said: “ADNOC has been a proud supporter of the Liwa Date Festival since its inception in 2004. Through our integrated CSR programme, we honour our wise UAE Leadership’s vision for the promotion of Emirati culture and heritage, and our Leadership’s ambitious development plans for the Al Dhafra region.

“As a community leader in the UAE, ADNOC is a keen supporter of our farmers. The company continues to expand its efforts to share sustainable farming practices and our latest fertiliser products to enable the farming community to maximise the value of their produce and grow the best possible dates in the country.”

ADNOC’s CSR efforts are focused on empowering youth and enriching community life in the UAE. Through these activities, ADNOC aims to create a positive and lasting impact on Emirati society.

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